A lot has changed since our last post about Desire2Learn’s (D2L) Assignment Grader app. For those unfamiliar, Assignment Grader is an iPad app created by D2L to enable grading dropbox assignments away from your computer. It synchronizes with Springboard and provides mobile, offline, access to dropbox submissions. Learn more by reading the previous post; “Using Desire2Learn Assignment Grader with Springboard”.
Since 2014, D2L has released a number of updates to the app in recent months to address some major stability and connectivity issues along with some minor optimizations to the user interface. These updates make a huge difference in usefulness of the app for faculty using Springboard.
After going almost a year and a half without a single update, it is great to see D2L put some much needed work into updating Assignment Grader but, those updates come with a price. Installing each update will remove any data that hadn’t been synchronized with Springboard. This is especially problematic when your iPad is set to automatically install updates. A number of people were caught by this “bug” in the Spring and, lost a lot of work and student grades when an update was installed without their knowledge.
Eliminating Update Issues
With a simple change to your App Store settings, you can remove this downfall to your successful use of Assignment Grader.
- Start by opening your Settings app.
- Scroll down to the iTunes & App Store section.
- Turn off Automatic Downloads for app Updates.
- The toggle should be to the left, with a white background. If the toggle is to the right, with a green background, then Updates are on. Tap on it to turn updates off.
Note: this will impact updates to all of your apps. You will need to manually update apps by visiting the App Store on your device.
Assuming you have turned off automatic downloads for app updates, as outlined above, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Assignment Grader. If you are just getting started with Assignment Grader, you may want to refer to our first post to learn how to connect to EduDentity, log into Springboard and, make use of the various tools.
As outlined in our previous post, in order to take full advantage of all of the features of Assignment Grader, you will need to use a free EduDentity account. Remember, you can use any email address you want when setting up EduDentity since it is completely independent from your university account.
Always Add Feedback
Unlike the standard web-interface, Assignment Grader requires you to add feedback to graded assignments. If you only provide a score and/or annotate a document, Assignment Grader will not sync the score with Springboard. You must provide some written feedback, as little as a single character.
Optimize your Grader Settings
Once you are logged into your EduDentity account and connected to Springboard, you may want to explore the new settings screen. D2L has made some minor changes the the available settings.
We recommend turning on the option to Auto-Submit Feedback. Assuming you are connected to a network, this will automatically upload your feedback to Springboard as you move from student to student. This is a good way to make sure you don’t lose any data.
Test and Verify
As some users in the past have discovered, the Assignment Grader app can sometimes “break”. There are time, after an update, in which the app will no longer sync data with Springboard. This is another reason to turn off automatic app updates. In case there is a connection issues, we recommend grading a single student’s assignment first, then verifying that your feedback was synced with Springboard. A quick test will catch any problems before you grade your entire class, only to discover that the app isn’t syncing with Springboard.
Hide Old Items
A good way to simplify that amount of content displayed in Assignment Grader is to turn off, or hide, old content. Assignment Grader allows you to hide a number of items. If you have a lot of courses or assignments, we recommend the following settings:
- Hide Graded Dropboxes
- Hide Courses Past Their End Date
- Hide Inactive Courses